Bringing up old arrest following tragic death was insensitive

It is just a couple of days before Christmas, my children are jumping with excitement. My house is stuffed with Christmas decor and my family had been full of the seasonal glee. We are excited to be around friends and family and share the end of the year, with its ups and downs.

Sadly, instead of pure joy, my family is entering this holiday season with the heaviest of hearts. A few days ago our phones started ringing, well before any of us were awake. We all received the most devastating news a family could hear.

Our loved one is missing and presumed dead. We are a large family and a very tight-knit family, so the calls continued throughout the morning. By noon we were all living in that unbelievable understanding that we would never see our loved one alive again. To make matters worse, we all learned the search for my uncle would cease due to unfavorable conditions. Sitting, holding my 84- year-old Grandmother’s hand, and telling her that the search was over for the day and potentially for the next few days, was heartbreaking.

Over the next few days we all gathered, talked, and tried to console ourselves over the loss of someone who we loved. Someone who was not perfect, who made mistakes, but who had brought so much joy and love to our lives and hundreds of others. A man who struggled with addiction, but who gave himself 100 percent as a neighbor, a father, an uncle, friend, and anything else someone needed him to be. He was so many things.

The Day, instead, chose to write about his faults. Less than half the article was dedicated to the "news" of a local man missing. The majority of the article instead referenced his 2011 arrest, painting an ugly picture of a person who is gone.

You should be ashamed of yourselves.

I will never deny that there are skeletons in the closet, but they are not related to this incident and, frankly, were used as a way to negate the tragedy that our family is facing.

I wish that The Day had thought about the family, the brand new grandson that is without a grandfather, the sisters and brother missing their youngest sibling, the daughter that is without a Dad. If only the newspaper had thought about the loss these people were suffering around Christmas.

Instead, your newspaper felt the need to create a more dramatic story, to spend your words bringing up a six-year-old incident, one that took years for our family to work through.

Shame on you.

Erin Heigelmann is the niece of John Dubois, 56, reported missing and presumed drowned after his snowmobile was found broken through the ice on Pachaug Pond in Griswold on Dec. 16.



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